If you’re in the marketing industry, you may feel that marketers today are better equipped than ever, with more tools at their disposal than ever imagined. But marketers are only as good as the tools they use. Those who assemble their stable of marketing partners by simply working their way down a capabilities checklist may feel that they’ve got all the tools required for successful cross-channel campaigns, but the truth is that modern marketing requires careful study and regular review of all the components.
Previously, I wrote about how the beginning of the year is the perfect time to reexamine your engagement strategy, but it’s also a great time to investigate how your marketing tools are performing. One of the best ways to do this is by implementing champion/challenger tests that compare your incumbent marketing tools against newer/other options.
This may sound like extra work, but it’s an important part of maintaining a nimble marketing operation, especially when you rely on data to identify a very specific audience segment, such as the affluent. After all, this isn’t a group that tends to maintain the same traits and spending behaviors over time. Financials can be fluid for consumers, and disposable income changes with the circumstances of their lives. The goal to successful marketing in today’s media landscape is being agile enough to respond to these changes in your audience by adapting your marketing strategy and solutions.
Refreshing your data helps you better understand your audience. Adjusting your tool set can help you reach that audience more easily and better forecast your year-end results. If you’re already considering a new data partner to provide a new segmentation framework, then a limited champion/ challenger test early in the year could be even more appealing.
What we’re ultimately getting to is that today’s marketers need to make informed decisions. While marketing may still carry a certain mystique, that a few geniuses in the field simply know what will resonate with consumers, today we understand that advertising isn’t a guessing game. Data and insights can help marketers better understand their efforts and forecast their success. Therefore, decisions on partners, software and hardware can’t be made based on feel or comfort, they have to be made after careful evaluation and with results in hand. That’s one way to build a forward-facing marketing plan.
No marketer wants to kick off the second half of the year looking at poor sales due to poor marketing. And marketers certainly don’t want that to happen after they made a switch in partners or tools earlier in the year. By running your champion/challenger trials in the first quarter, you set your marketing department up to better predict what the campaigns will look like come summer, fall, and the end of the year. It’s not a guessing game, but potential yearlong gains based on the predictive results you’ll see in these early champion/challenger trials.
Marketers are only as good as the tools they use, but too many may act as if they’re victims of their tools. That doesn’t have to be the case, and the most nimble marketing departments are the ones that constantly adjust their tool sets and plans help to get the best result.